Mechanical Engineering Faculty Research

The Bearing Strength and Fracture Behavior of Bolted Connections in Two Aluminum Alloys

Nicholas Tinl, University of Akron, main campus
Craig C. Menzemer, University of Akron, main campus
Kannan Manigandan, University of Akron, main campus
Tirumalai S. Srivatsan, University of Akron, main campus


In this paper, the bearing capacity, taken as a combination of strength, elongation, and failure by fracture characteristics of bolt holes in two aluminum alloys, 5052-H32 and 6061-T6, that were deformed in uniaxial tension is presented and discussed. The specific role played by bolt hole confinement on the bearing capacity of each aluminum alloy is highlighted. An increase in the bearing ratio caused plastic deformation around the holes to gradually increase. For both the chosen aluminum alloys the average bearing ratio at the time of failure of the test sample was found to vary with end distance. The experimentally determined strength was observably larger than the calculated bearing strength obtained using guaranteed minimum mechanical properties and recommended mathematical relationships. The nature of final fracture of each aluminum alloy is carefully examined and the intrinsic features present on the fracture surface are rationalized in concurrence with macroscopic mechanical response.